Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project Takes on Immigration Judge

Categories: Immigration Lawyer Blog San Diego

Juvenile foreign nationals are generally seen as the most vulnerable population in immigration court. Under international and domestic law they are to be treated with special care and consideration. Instead of facing detention in prison while awaiting their court dates they are allowed to live in special facilities for juveniles that resemble foster homes. There are supposed to be special protections for them in court as well. In a scary situation where even adults have trouble asserting their rights, children in immigration proceedings are even more at risk of being incapable of protecting themselves. This is why the allegations against Immigration Judge Lorraine Munoz are so disturbing. As reported by Sandra Hernandez in the LA Daily Journal, the Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project has filed a formal complaint with the Department of Justice against Judge Munoz for her repeated misconduct when handling juvenile immigrants who come before her court. Circuit courts are also increasingly frustrated with immigration judges who disregard evidence, see my previous posting on one Federal Appeals court judge lambasting an immigration judge in an asylum case: Judge Posner gets personal as “social group” continues to be defined. Accountability for Immigration Judges is a long standing worry for practitioners particularly as Congress continues to limit the types of rulings that can be subject to review by federal courts outside the Department of Justice. With so much at stake in these cases, it’s vital that Immigration Judges be held accountable either through the appeals process or through more supervision and training at the Executive Office of Immigration Review. As comprehensive immigration reform moves forward in Congress it will be important for those drafting the legislation to keep this type of misconduct in the forefront of their minds when revising the types of cases that can be subject to independent appellate review.

–Danielle